Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday her family owns a firearm, but she assured members of the panel this would not influence how she might vote on Second Amendment questions before the Supreme Court, if she is confirmed.
The second day of hearings into her nomination focused once again on Judge Barrett’s philosophy about abortion and the Affordable Care Act, but the gun rights issue did come up. She took time to explain how the process works when getting a case before the high court.
“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda — I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion — and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett said during her testimony, as quoted by the Star Tribune.
“It’s not the law of Amy,” she subsequently added. “It’s the law of the American people.”
Democrats on the committee, particularly Senators Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal, pressed Judge Barrett repeatedly for something definitive on how she might come down on various issues. She repeatedly told them she could not say how she might decide on an issue as a hypothetical. That didn’t satisfy the Democrats, who also suggested Republicans are pushing her confirmation quickly in order for her to be seated on the high court prior to the election.
Judge Barrett delved into the Second Amendment under less hostile questioning from Judiciary Chair Sen. Lindsey Graham. The discussed the 2008 Heller ruling, which defined the right to keep and bear arms to be a fundamental individual right.
The court early Tuesday declined to accept for review yet another Second Amendment case, out of California.
Much later in the day, under questioning from Blumenthal, a perennial anti-gunner who expressed concerns about her Second Amendment leanings during the first day of hearings, her dissent in the case of Kanter v. Barr on Second Amendment rights for convicted felons was “radical.”
Blumenthal complained that her opinion might endanger gun control laws in Connecticut, which he indicated were “common sense.”
Her reply was “Respectfully senator, my dissent would not touch those issues.”
Judge Barrett appeared to maintain her poise and demeanor, and Republicans on the committee continually referred to her qualifications and history as a professor and law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She did note more than once it is not the court’s job to make policy. That job belongs to Congress.
It did appear to frustrate Democrats that she would not commit to recusing herself from any challenge to the 2020 election by President Donald Trump.
Right now, according to The Economist, the odds of Trump’s re-election are getting longer. The Economist puts odds of a Joe Biden win at 91 percent, with him winding up with between 227 and 421 Electoral College votes. But three weeks remain before the election Nov. 3, and in politics, that can be an eternity with plenty of changes.
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